CINCINNATI: Dre Kirkpatrick had two interceptions of quar-terback Peyton Manning as the Cincinnati Bengals clinched a playoff spot with a 37-28 victory over the Denver Broncos on Monday.
Jeremy Hill also ran for 147 yards and a touchdown as Cincinnati is headed to the National Football League postseason for the fourth straight year.
“Regardless of what anyone is saying, this win meant more because it means the playoffs,” said Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.
Manning struggled migh-tily all game long. He was picked off four times while finishing with 311 yards and two touchdowns on 28-of-44 passing for the Broncos, who had a four-game win streak snapped.
“We have to find a way to learn from this,” said Manning of Denver who fell to 11-4. “All we can do is put this one behind us.”
Dalton completed 17-of-26 passes for 146 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for the Bengals, who improved to 10-4-1 and will battle Pittsburgh for the AFC North title next Sunday.
Jermaine Gresham caught nine passes for 62 yards and a score and Giovani Bernard also hauled in a touchdown pass in the win.
C.J. Anderson rushed for 83 yards and a score on 18 carries, Emmanuel Sanders had two scores to go with 70 yards on six catches and Demaryius Thomas finished with seven catches for a game-high 115 yards for the Broncos.
Denver’s loss also means that New England clinched the first overall seed in the AFC.
Broncos receiver Thomas said they are not panicking heading into next week’s final regular season game against Oakland.
“This one is over with and everybody’s fine. We know what we’ve got to do next week,” said Thomas.